"Even wars have rules — rules which protect humanity on battlefields IRL."

Fair and Square

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is urging gamers not to commit any in-game war crimes.

As Kotaku reports, the ICRC has partnered with a number of Twitch streamers to promote the effort dubbed "Play by the Rules," which is designed to educate gamers about the statutes of war.

It has even created a mode for the popular video game Fortnite designed to help communicate what the rules of war actually are.

While well-intentioned, we're not sure how many gamers will actually take the ICRC up for the challenge. But given the motivations behind the project — teaching them about the rules of actual warfare — it's certainly a worthwhile endeavor.

No Thirst Zone

The stated goal of the effort, according to the ICRC's website, is to "protect the humanity and dignity of people all over the world." No small beans.

"Every day, people play games set in conflict zones right from their couch," reads an official description. "But right now, armed conflicts are more prevalent than ever. And to the people suffering from their effects, this conflict is not a game. It destroys lives and leaves communities devastated."

"Therefore," it added, "we're challenging you to play FPS by the real Rules of War, to show everyone that even wars have rules — rules which protect humanity on battlefields IRL."

As far as the actual rules of "Play by the Rules" go, participating users aren't allowed to "thirst" — per the ICRC, a term that refers to a player shooting "downed" or "unresponsive enemies" — target "non-violent NPCs," or attack civilian structures.

They also have to use medkits on everyone, as the rules of war decree that anyone sick or wounded on either side must receive care.

Point Well Made

As Kotaku notes, the ICRC did something similar back in 2017, asking gamers to take on the role of a humanitarian aid worker in a popular military tactical shooter, and tasking them with navigating through a crisis zone, helping the wounded, and talking to reporters.

That said, while the ICRC has a very real point that it's trying to make with these campaigns, it's hard to imagine that gamers will actually heed their word and follow these rules.

Nonetheless, it might not be the worst thing in the world to see them more broadly incorporated into video games.

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